Is Mike Bellotti's ESPN Job A Precursor For His Return To Coaching?

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2010

BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Head coach Mike Belotti of the Oregon Ducks congratulates his players during the Pac-10 Conference football game against the California Golden Bears on October 13, 2001 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Oregon crushed California 48-7. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Is anyone else not buying that Mike Bellotti is going to stick around in the ESPN booth and give updates from Bristol for years to come?

This seems exactly like the situation sports fans have seen so many times. Coach retires and rides off into the sunset. Coach gets the itch but can't go back to his old team. Coach is the face of a new team, usually in the same regional area or conference.

Before Oregon went on its crime spree for two weeks in February, Bellotti had already said he was not comfortable in his new position as Athletic Director.

He said he was out of his element; balancing budgets, dealing with travel schedules, fundraising, etc. and was losing more sleep at night as the AD then he ever did as a coach.

Then on top of all that, having to deal with eight players involved in some kind of trouble and firing basketball coach Ernie Kent.

No wonder he just wanted to go back to coaching where all he had to deal with was 100 players and eight assistant coaches.

During his farewell press conference his most telling words were "I've weathered more difficult storms while the football coach and I was planning on weathering these storms."

So leaving the school that you have been apart of since 1989 during its most needed time for a job at the worldwide leader was something that you just couldn't pass up? Hmm.

A coach of Bellotti's stature could have gone to ESPN at any time, asked and gotten a job. As much as he will deny that he isn't jumping while the ship is sinking, he is.

This is just a way for him to get his name back out there as a coach looking for a job.

So what are some possible destinations for the former Oregon AD:

Arizona State

While going to a school within his old conference may ruffle some feathers in Oregon, he would do well here.

He would be able to go back and recruit in California, which he recruited so well while with the Ducks. He would be able to go up against his old team that caused him so much trouble over the past year.

Bellotti would also have a supportive athletic director in Lisa Love. After seeing Dennis Erickson miss bowls the past two seasons after going nine of the past ten seasons, she has to be right?


Unless he is able to pull a rabbit out of the hat and be competitive, there is no way Dan Hawkins will be the Buffaloes head coach in 2011.

Colorado would allow Bellotti to show how good of a coach he really is. He would be taking a team that has been at the bottom of the Big 12 for years and build them into a contender. Plus he could still go and recruit in California.

Does Bellotti really want to have to endure a rebuilding process though at his age (59)?


Rich Rod could easily get the boot if he doesn't make a splash here this year.

Bellotti would be walking into a rough situation here. The Wolverines have a rabid fanbase that expect to be competing for a national championship every year. That is not exactly the situation that he had at Oregon

He would be asked to clean up Rodriguez's mess but that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Bellotti could use that as a crutch for a season or two. Plus, Bellotti likes to run the spread and Rodriguez has been recruiting those players for the past three years.

All of these are opportunities are likely to open if these team live up to the same standards they have the past few seasons.

Even if he doesn't take a coaching job, hopefully he will replace Lou Holtz in a year and give the Pac-10 the love it so rightfully deserves.


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